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Raphael Pessoa Nunes Accepts Sanction for Second Violation of UFC Anti-Doping Policy

UFC glove next to the UFC Anti-Doping program emblem logo.USADA announced today that Raphael Pessoa Nunes, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has accepted a two-year sanction for his second violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy involving his use and/or attempted use of a prohibited substance, positive tests for that substance, and evasion of sample collection. As required under the rules and described below, the three violations were combined into a single second violation. Pessoa Nunes’ received his first violation after testing positive for the same substance and served a one-year period of ineligibility beginning on March 4, 2020.

Pessoa Nunes, 32, tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and its metabolites chlorothiazide and 4-amino-6-chloro-1,3-benzenedisulfonamide (ACB) as the result of urine samples collected out-of-competition on February 9, 2021, February 15, 2021, February 16, 2021, and March 4, 2021. HCTZ is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List. Because Pessoa Nunes was not yet notified of the positive tests until after all four samples were collected, they were treated as a single second violation.

The athlete also evaded sample collection on January 25, 2021 and January 28, 2021. Evading sample collection, or refusing or failing to submit to sample collection, without compelling justification is a doping violation under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Pessoa Nunes had not been notified of the evasion violations until after his positive tests were reported. Therefore, the evasion violations were also combined into the single second violation.

Pessoa Nunes’ period of ineligibility began on February 9, 2021, the date his first positive sample was collected.

USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website (https://UFC.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.

In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (https://UFC.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts. Many of the resources available to athletes are provided in multiple languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.

Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at playclean@usada.org, by phone at 1 877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.


For more information or media inquiries, email media@usada.org.